Mark is a Principal Research Scientist in entomology and also Institute Director at Yanco Agricultural Institute. He is involved in pest management research primarily in field crops and with a strong focus on rice, however he is also currently involved in projects on stored grain pest ecology and cotton integrated pest management, supported by the Plant Biosecurity CRC and the Cotton Research and Development Corporation, respectively. Mark is an Adjunct Professor at Charles Sturt University and is also involved in co-supervising postgraduate students at the University of Canberra.
Mark has a PhD in insect systematics from the University of Sydney and is a member of the editorial board of General and Applied Entomology. He has published around 70 refereed journal articles on a range of topics, including leafhopper taxonomy, the ecology and management of chironomid midges and snails in rice, and ant management in citrus orchards.
His research on rice has focused on reducing insecticide use and developing alternative control strategies (such as crop rotations and varietal resistance) for managing key pests. Key topics currently being investigated include the development of alternatives to copper for snail control, and armyworm control technologies that minimise adverse effects on beneficial species, particularly parasitoids.
Mark has a particular interest in chemical ecology, and his stored grain work involves combining pheromones and plant volatiles to develop effective multispecies trapping techniques for stored grain beetles that have developed resistance to the fumigant phosphine. Efficient trapping techniques in combination with DNA-based resistance detection will give grain growers and handlers a rapid system for determining which species are active in their area, and whether or not phosphine is likely to be effective for their management.